Major Projects Authority

Overview

The Major Projects Authority (MPA) improves project performance for the taxpayer. It aims to address the findings from the National Audit Office’s report Assurance of high risk projects(PDF, 410KB) and from the Major Projects Review 2010. It is a collaboration between the Cabinet Office, HM Treasury and departments and has the fundamental aim of significantly improving the delivery success rate of major projects across central government. We launched the MPA on 31 March 2011.

Main components of the MPA’s work

The MPA is supported by a clear and enforceable mandate and has the authority to:

  • develop the government’s major projects portfolio, and in collaboration with departments provide verified, timely data, with regular reporting to ministers
  • require, review and approve integrated assurance and approval plans for each major project or programme, including timetables for HM Treasury (HMT) approvals, and validated by the MPA and HMT
  • carry out assurance reviews where there is cause for concern and ensure that departments co-operate to take action to address any issues raised
  • escalate issues of concern to ministers and accounting officers
  • intervene directly where projects are causing concern, providing additional assurance or commercial and operational support
  • make a starting gate review, or equivalent, mandatory for all new projects/programmes to assess deliverability before project delivery gets underway
  • work with departments to build capability in projects and programme management, including the nomination of suitably senior and experienced officials to act as reviewers on high risk projects and programmes at least once every 12 to 18 months
  • require publication of project information consistent with the Coalition’s transparency agenda
  • collaborate with departments to publish an annual report on the government’s major projects

Government major projects portfolio (GMPP)

The portfolio will consist of all projects or programmes that require HM Treasury approval.

MPA’s integrated assurance toolkit for departments to use for major projects

The planning, coordination and provision of assurance activities throughout the “policy to delivery” lifecycle in a way which provides greater assurance with less effort. Every project will be required to prepare an integrated assurance and approval plan which will indicate how assurance reviews of all types will be scheduled to support decision making and inform approvals by the department and by the Treasury, while avoiding duplication and activity which does not add value.

The resources below give guidance for departments and outline the integrated assurance toolkit used by the MPA:

Consequential assurance and Intervention

For projects that have particular problems, a more intensive approach is required. MPA will discuss with the department the need for additional assurance and where necessary will arrange extra support for the project. If issues are not being resolved effectively there will be an escalation process to ministers.

Transparent reporting

The government is committed to transparency and opening government major projects to public scrutiny for the first time. The MPA will publish its first annual report in May 2013.

How to become an assurance reviewer

The reciprocal arrangement in place between departments for the resourcing of central civil government assurance activity is vital as we work towards achieving the MPA’s objectives set out in the Prime Minister’s mandate. As such, we are keen to accredit new suitably skilled and experienced assurance reviewers who would be able to provide the required time commitment to the role.

Becoming an assurance reviewer is a unique development opportunity as it offers individuals the chance to get involved with some of the highest profile projects and programmes in the government. For departments who provide reviewers, the peer-to-peer learning helps build corporate capability in the successful delivery of their own projects/programmes.

To make contact with the MPA resourcing team, please email gateway.helpdesk@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk

For those employed within the health sector please email DH_NHSgatewayreviews@dh.gsi.gov.uk or call 0113 254 6213 for further information.

For those employed within local government please email the Local Partnerships Gateway Team or call 020 7187 7370 for further information.

You will need the following documents:

Further information and contacts

For more information contact the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG)

ERG Service Desk
Cabinet Office
Rosebery Court
St Andrews Business Park
Norwich
Norfolk
NR7 0HS

Telephone (enquiries): 01603 704999

You can read details about the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) Gateway Review in The National Archives

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